How did you hear about Dechets a l’Or?
I heard about Dechets a l’Or for the first time in 2014 through the Director of the American Center of the university where I was taking English classes. It is thanks to him that I met Ayo and got to learn more about his project and his vision for the city of Kankan and West Africa in general.
Tell us about the work you do at Dechets a l’Or.
As a Collection Manager, my work mainly revolves around ensuring that operations are running smoothly. I make the waste collection schedule for all our clients, organize the collectors in teams, welcome new clients, communicate with them and introduce them to the waste collection team. I also make sure the Memorandum of Understanding established between the clients and us is followed. This involves making sure the collection frequency established, two to six times a week depending on the clients’ needs, is respected. I am also involved with the collection of service fees and awareness campaigns. Finally, I am in charge of resolving any logistical issues that may arise while the teams are on the ground.
What are your days like?
My days usually start at around 7 a.m., which is the time we usually start waste collection in a neighborhood called Korialien. Around 8.30 a.m., we take a quick breakfast because eating in the morning is important and making sure a whole city remains clean requires a minimum of energy!
After breakfast, I pay a visit to some of our clients to go over waste separation procedures and answer their questions. Our first trip usually ends around 10 a.m., after having serviced about 50 clients. We then take all the waste collected to the landfill. Our second trip ends at around 1 p.m., and the third one around 4.30 p.m. The day usually ends between 5 and 6 p.m., and we have generally serviced somewhere around 150 clients, depending on the days.
How were your first days at Dechets a l’Or?
The beginning was not easy because this was a field of work I was not really familiar with. However, Dechets a l’Or really stimulated my curiosity and I was seduced by the idea of implementing waste valorization mechanisms through plastic recycling, organic waste composting and biogas production for the electrification of our cities. In addition, the production of organic fertilizers from the compost would help farmers increase their yield and protect their land, which is something I am very interested in.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
The most interesting aspect of my job is undeniably the relationships we form with clients. Beside the socio-economic and health impact of this project, our clients’ enthusiasm and the positive interactions we have make this job much more pleasant.
What was people’s initial reaction when you started advertising your services?
One of the issues we had to face at the very beginning of the project was people’s suspicion with regards to the initiative. Indeed, because so many other organizations had unsuccessfully started such projects, many people did not want to hear about Dechets a l’Or or any other waste management project for that matter. Once we were able to convince the communities of our determination to succeed, we had to face another issue: clients were reluctant to separate their waste. One of the reasons for this was simply the fact that they did not want to put their hands in their garbage to sort their waste. It was therefore our responsibility to make sure they understood that there were more efficient waste sorting methods. By separating their waste before placing it in the different bins that we provide, they no longer had to worry about getting their hands dirty.
What challenges did you have to overcome?
One of the challenges we overcame was the lack of truck in good condition to collect our clients’ waste. However, through hard work and perseverance, we were able to find a good truck to start operations and we are currently in the process of acquiring two additional vehicles to proceed with our expansion project and satisfy more clients.
Where do you see Dechets a l’Or in the next five years?
In the next five years, I am confident that Dechets a l’Or will no longer just be a project in the city of Kankan, but also in many more Guinean and west African cities.